Skip to main content

tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 15, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

6:00 pm
♪ michelle: hello, and welcome to "fokus on europe." in his quest to expand his already considerable executive powers, turkish president erdogan has branded the european union fascist and cruel, ramping up tensions in an already fraught relationship with the eu. however hostile turkey views its neighbors, there is an ongoing crisis within the country. many university professors there have been dismissed from their jobs. some have had the courage to continue teaching and take their lectures outdoors. those who come to listen are proof that we are not alone and not criminals, says one lecturer. more on that later in the program.
6:01 pm
as journalist ketevan kardava waited to fly out to her next assignment, she did what many of us do when we have time to fill -- she idly scrolled through her phone. yet, in an instant, her entire life changed. just a few meters away from her, a bomb exploded in what ended up being the worst terror attack in belgium's history. now, a year on, she and many other victims continue to struggle in the aftermath. reporter: it was tuesday, around 8:00 a.m. the georgian journalist ketevan kardavan had just bought a ticket at the airport in brussels. ms. kardava: i was just standing like this and scrolling my facebook, and the first blast happened here just feet away from me. reporter: seconds later, there was a second explosion in the departures hall. kardava immediately looked for cover. ms. kardava: i ran there just
6:02 pm
like this, and was standing, i think, for one minute. reporter: then she took out her phone and started taking pictures. 12 of those photos went viral. ms. kardava: first, i took the women. then i took two soldiers, they were coming. and then sebastien, i met here. here he was. reporter: the belgian professional basketball player sebastien bellin survived. after several operations, he can now walk again, and the two of them have become friends. one year after the attack, bellin has yet to receive financial support. that's true of other victims. it's a long bureaucratic process, says mohamed el bachiri. a year ago, the subway driver had the day off. on that day, his wife was killed
6:03 pm
in an attack at maelbeek metro station. now, he is raising their three children alone. mr. el bachiri: it's a disaster, chaos. we're just surviving. we lost our essence, our base. the children lost their mother. i lost my other half. reporter: el bachiri gave up his job. and in a video seen by millions, he called for a "jihad of love." mr. el bachiri: in this "jihad of love," i call for reflection, the importance of education from a very early age, teaching universal values to children,
6:04 pm
the sacredness of human life. nobody should call for anyone's death. reporter: molenbeek -- the brussels district where some of the attackers were based -- has a reputation for being a breeding ground for terrorists. some reports say the number of radicalized youths is growing there. many local residents and authorities feel that they've been left in the lurch. ms. turine: for our prevention work, to fight against the roots of evil that put some young people on this path, we need a marshall plan for youth. we need funding for prevention, education, culture, and we don't have anything. some announcements were made, but nothing was done. reporter: belgium has invested in security. but the artist jean-henri compere believes more is needed to really fight terrorism. his memorial sculpture conveys a message of hope and courage.
6:05 pm
it is called, "wounded but still standing in the face of the unthinkable." mr. compere: my whole respect goes to the families, of course, but to all the people who have taken the subway the day after and the day after, with fear in their stomach -- and those persons were as courageous as anybody. they just went. but everybody has something in his heart that said, ok, i am not the same as one year ago because i can be wounded, i can be killed any time of the day. reporter: hans van der biesen was not a victim last year, but he did witness much of the suffering. his hotel is located opposite the maelbeek metro station. dozens of victims were carried into the lobby. mr. van der biesen: all that happened in a real quiet atmosphere, which is one of the things i maybe remember most of that day. it was not at all like in a
6:06 pm
movie where you hear screaming people everywhere and running people everywhere. it really went in a really quiet atmosphere. reporter: van der biesen attempted to get into the station to help, but there was too much smoke. nowadays, he is trying to forget the horror and to look at the bright side. mr. van der biesen: i want to remember the positive things about it, if there are any. it's the solidarity we saw that day between people, how everyone tried to help out each other, how strong people are. if you see some of the victims or their family members, what they are doing, they are creating work groups to talk about the events and all those kind of things. it shows for me how strong we are as human beings. reporter: and how strong human beings have to be to survive. 32 people were killed in the attacks last year and 10 times more were injured.
6:07 pm
one year on, the healing process is far from over. michelle: belgium remains on high alert with a threat level of three out of four. it seems that there and in so many other european cities, people have simply learned to live with the threat of terror. tourism is booming in the portuguese capital lisbon. unfortunately, that boom has also come with a bust. many locals have been driven out of their apartments because landlords prefer to rent to tourists for easy money. rosa dias is one of the former tenants in the heart of the capital who feel the authorities have left them in the lurch. reporter: for years, rosa dias used to rent an apartment here in lisbon's historical bairro alto district. until suddenly, her lease was cancelled. ms. dias: we got a letter. we'd been paying rent for five years.
6:08 pm
we even renovated parts of our apartment at our own cost. and suddenly, our rental contract was terminated. our landlord didn't even talk to us beforehand. the letter from the lawyer said we had to vacate the apartment by april. reporter: rosa is just one of many tenants who say they're being pushed out of lisbon's historic central districts. rosa used to rent a flat on the top floor of this building in bairro alto for just 400 euros a month. but now, many landlords see an opportunity to make much more money than that, by selling properties outright, or by replacing old renters with tourists. it's happening all over lisbon these days. ms. dias: my landlord had already rented out the apartment underneath us for 1200 euros a month via an online platform. every couple of days there was a
6:09 pm
constant coming and going. reporter: hiking up the rent from 400 euros to 1200 euros -- a 300% increase. rosa and luis paisana take us on a tour of the old city center. paisana heads the bairro alto residents' association, which has been fighting for affordable rents for awhile. he says he knows the many tricks landlords use to make their tenants' lives miserable, until they cave in and accept the termination of their leases. mr. paisana: some landlords take the steps out so older tenants can't access the building. that's how they exert pressure. reporter: last year, portugal was visited by a record number of tourists. 11 million holiday-makers came, many of them to lisbon. and in the capital, many are hoping to benefit from the boom.
6:10 pm
miguel ortigao, for example, occasionally sublets his apartment to tourists. for the freelancer without a steady income in an increasingly pricey city, the extra cash comes in handy. so in the summer months, he temporarily relocates to his parents. miguel is well aware of voices criticizing these developments. he can see their point, too. but for him, the financial argument outweighs the negative side. mr. ortigao: i charge between 60 euros and 90 euros a night, depending on whether it's a weekday or the weekend, high season or off-season. for me, it's good business. it's a way for me to make some money in the months when i don't earn very much as a freelance architect. reporter: however, a glance through airbnb's online platform for holiday accommodations shows that many of the offerings are
6:11 pm
posted by people renting out multiple apartments. they're undermining airbnb's image as a peer-to-peer hospitality business and reaping maximum returns. but unlike in large cities elsewhere, lisbon's municipal council doesn't seem to mind. airbnb even collects tourist tax for the city, which last year amounted to 14 million euros. so, local authorities are not all that interested in protecting tenants. mr. paisana: the 2012 rent law makes it easier for landlords to throw tenants out. landlords are now permitted to issue five-year rental contracts. and when apartments are refurbished, rents can be increased. often, tenants then no longer can afford to live there. reporter: lisbon's municipal council did not respond to our request for an interview. the other factor that's driving
6:12 pm
out tenants is luxury modernization. wherever you look in the city center, housing is being built or refurbished for the wealthy. in 2016, 40,000 apartments were sold, many of them to foreign buyers. they can afford the prices that locals simply can't. and as an additional incentive, non-eu citizens who invest at least 500,000 euros in real estate are given residency permits for free. all of that is making it harder for renters like rosa dias to remain in the old quarters of lisbon. michelle: since last summer's failed military coup in turkey, anyone perceived as critical of the government is being targeted. this has led to thousands of judges, journalists, lawyers and academics being suspended, fired, and even detained.
6:13 pm
not only has freedom of expression been curtailed, but an essential state function -- education -- has been affected. in some cases, entire university faculties have been closed down. yet some teachers remain undeterred and are now lecturing in public places in a project dubbed, "street academy." unfortunately, for some like professor mehmet fatih tras, the initiative came too late. reporter: it's the first time since the funeral that hasan durkal has returned to the grave of his best friend. mehmet fatih tras killed himself by jumping from the seventh floor. he was 33 years old. the research assistant from southern turkey had been dismissed after signing a petition criticizing military operations in kurdish-dominated areas of the country. his friend says he was driven to suicide.
6:14 pm
mr. durkal: the university, the media, and the justice system all branded him as an enemy of the state. not everyone has the psychological strength to deal with something like that. if he hadn't been ostracized, he wouldn't have committed suicide. reporter: hasan durkal, a schoolteacher, signed the academics for peace petition, too, and he was also dismissed. he feels lost without his friend. early last year, turkish president recep tayyip erdogan launched an attack on the critical academics who had signed the petition. erdogan referred to them as "so-called intellectuals" who were undermining turkey and who should no longer be paid by the state. feminist sociologist yasemin ozgun lost her job after signing the petition. a difficult period began. but she and other academics have found an innovative way to continue to teach.
6:15 pm
she's about to give a lecture in a park in ankara, instead of in lecture since last june, and now i'm all wound up as if it were the first time. reporter: many academics still work at institutions like here at the university of ankara. but thousands of scholars have lost their jobs in purges that have mostly affected alleged followers of u.s.-based cleric fethullah gulen and left-wing critics of the government, like yasemin ozgun. the dismissed lecturers have started organizing what they call "street academies." they give lectures in cafes or in public parks. the classes take place rain or shine. today, former students and colleagues have come to support yasemin ozgun. >> my contract wasn't extended for political reasons.
6:16 pm
but a university doesn't necessarily need a building. it can be anywhere. and that's why i'm here. >> on top of university, i do my best not to miss any "street academy" lecture. reporter: ozgun's lecture is about feminist politics, a subject that would be hard to find at most turkish universities these days. so far, the authorities are tolerating the "street academy," but nobody knows for how long. after the class, the lecturers and students warm up with some hot soup. ozgun feels encouraged by today's turnout. ms. ozgun: the government keeps trying to marginalize us, branding us as isolated cases. but here, the people who have come to listen show me that i'm not alone, that i haven't committed a crime. reporter: after the lecture,
6:17 pm
ozgun and her colleagues go to a cafe -- they can't afford much more than tea since they lost their jobs. ms. ozgun: i get the equivalent of about 400 euros from the teacher's union, but that doesn't get me very far. i still have to pay off my mortgage. and how will i find a job? private schools aren't allowed to employ us, either. i would be able to get a research grant from france or germany, but my passport has been confiscated. reporter: these academics may not be in jail like some others, but they do feel trapped. mehmet fatih tras could not deal with the situation anymore. the place where he used to sit in his local bar is empty.
6:18 pm
he would often come here with friends for a beer after work. the bartender knew him well. she says that toward the end, he became increasingly silent. hasan durkal still comes here to try to overcome his friend's death, to remember him, and to keep his ideals alive. mr. durkal: his dream of a peaceful, democratic society lives on. and we must never stop questioning the political conditions that led to his death. reporter: those political conditions have already led to hundreds of deaths, thousands of arrests, and countless cases of exile. michelle: it may take a while before mehmet fatih tras' dream of a peaceful, democratic society comes true. calling turkey's closest european and nato allies "fascists" isn't exactly conducive to closer future relations.
6:19 pm
do you ever dream of getting away from it all? getting away from all the hustle and bustle of modern life? well, if you do, a small town in austria is looking for its next hermit. you must be able to live peacefully on your own without electricity, running water, or the internet. dozens of people from all over the world have already applied. reporter: it's a steep climb to reach the st. georg hermitage high above the austrian town of saalfelden. thomas fieglmuller knows this path like the back of his hand. he trod it many times when he lived in the hermitage. he was first a priest, then became a psychotherapist. until he was drawn to the remote cliffside. mr. fieglmuller: an avalanche, possibly with rocks, has
6:20 pm
obviously destroyed part of this fence and swept away big portions of the ground. reporter: winter up in the mountains can be dangerous. the st. georg hermitage is inhabited only during the summer months. it's an almost 400-year long tradition. fieglmuller lived here, too. now, he's returned to help select a successor. he's overcome with nostalgia when he reaches the modest living quarters. mr. fieglmuller: this here is the bedroom. it's a very simple bed with a drawer underneath for the bedding. and here is the rope for ringing the bell. reporter: the hermitage, perched
6:21 pm
atop a steep cliff, affords a stunning view. the original hermits selected a beautiful spot to establish their cloister. mr. fieglmuller: you get to leave the hustle and bustle down below. that's what it was like for me. you also get to leave your worries behind, and that was wonderful. reporter: but living in this idyllic setting is also hard work. water, food, and firewood have to be lugged up the mountain. mr. fieglmuller: this here is also a work space because you've got to chop wood. but i enjoyed this kind of work because it's physically demanding. reporter: stephan teix, who
6:22 pm
wants to be the next hermit, knows hard work well. as a young man, he took over his parent's farm, becoming an organic farmer. but in the process, he ruined his health. he damaged his back. then, he got cancer, and survived it. but last year, he suffered a stroke. mr. teix: i knew very well that my life might be over at any second. but i survived, and i said to myself, this is a sign that i must change my life. reporter: teix had just turned his farm into a family-friendly visitors' center with pony-riding for kids, a shop, restaurant, and cultural events. he liked his work, but suddenly his life had changed and it was too much for him. by coincidence, he heard of st.
6:23 pm
georg hermitage. mr. teix: hiking through the forest and spotting the hermitage was a feeling like homecoming. it was such a heart-warming sensation. i was at ease, i said, this is where i wanted to be. reporter: 50 other people want that, too. the applicants come from all over the world. now, the priest and the mayor of saalfelden have to select the next hermit. mayor rohrmoser: a candidate has to be physically fit. he has to carry water up the mountain and chop wood. he's got to be self-sufficient. if you want that, you're welcome. reporter: the priest would prefer someone with a spiritual background. priest moser: one of the previous two hermits was from the abbey of st. lambrecht. the other was a retired priest.
6:24 pm
over the past 13 years, we've emphasized the spiritual character of the hermitage. we want to keep this christian tradition alive. reporter: every day, the faithful trek up to the hermitage seeking guidance or council. but thomas fieglmuller doesn't think you need to be religious to offer advice. to him, something else matters more. mr. fieglmuller: that i'm just here. i don't have to provide counseling, i don't need to give psychotherapy. what matters most is to encounter the people calmly, and as equals. reporter: stephan teix craves the quiet of the hermitage. he's a pious man and isn't worried about turning his life around. he also wants to finish the book he started writing years ago. mentally, he's already moved into the hermitage.
6:25 pm
mr. teix: people can believe whatever they want and get support from that. i get support from god, at least how i perceive god -- namely through nature, life, laughter, and human encounters. reporter: thomas fieglmuller says the next hermit will have to find his own way and cope with living in isolation high up in the mountains above the town of saalfelden. michelle: could you handle the solitude? let me know what you think about that or any of today's stories by getting in touch on twitter or on our facebook page, "dw stories." thank you for watching. see you next time. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
6:26 pm
6:27 pm
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
6:30 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on